White Rose Ventures like a local ‘Shark Tank’

Stephanie Kalina-Metzger, Contributing Writer//April 29, 2022

White Rose Ventures like a local ‘Shark Tank’

Stephanie Kalina-Metzger, Contributing Writer//April 29, 2022

It didn’t take York-based White Rose Ventures long to begin causing a stir within the business community. The investment management company began making investments in November of 2021 and has thus far invested in seven companies totaling $2.5M. 

Classifying the company as type of “Shark Tank” with a local slant, may simplify what White Rose Ventures does, but it isn’t too far off the mark, according to Martin Fedorko, Managing Partner.  

“We are an innovation catalyst that provides meaningful capital to our region’s brightest and most ambitious entrepreneurs,” he said.  

Fedorko said that he noticed a dearth of support for entrepreneurism in the region.  

“Many organizations wanted to encourage it, but few knew how to do so,” said Fedorko.  

His business not only provides capital, but also support for growth and scaling through their sister organization Braided River Collective, which brings entrepreneurs together to discuss problems and gaps that aren’t usually addressed in the business community at large. 

James Norrie, owner and founder of cyberconIQ, a patent-pending Cyber Risk Management platform, received a $150,000 grant from Ben Franklin Technology Partners in 2020. This caught the eye of White Rose Ventures, who offered the company two rounds of financing: $750,000 and an additional $80,000. 

“Our mission is to make the online world a safe place for everyone, that includes seniors, kids and companies,” said Norrie, who explains that part of his organization’s technique for determining risk assessment involves administering a test to computer users.  

“In a way, you could compare it to the Myers-Briggs personality test. Our test sheds light on why computer users could be sitting ducks simply by going about their business online,” he said.  

Norrie, who has a background in cybersecurity and teaches law and strategy at York College, said that cyberconIQ has hired student interns, alumni from the college and people from the community.  

“York really needs new industries and we’re helping to turn the corner on economic development,” he said. 

Another business that has benefited from its relationship with White Rose Ventures is Naqi Logix, which launched in the middle of 2021. 

Dave Segal, Chief Innovation Officer, said it all began when he read about a soldier who arrived home from Iraq and was provided with a thought-controlled prosthetic arm.  

“I had an epiphany,” Segal said. “If they were focused on imagined movement, why not detect it gyroscopically? Why not build a smart earbud that detects small movement?”  

Segal filed his first patent shortly thereafter. What Segal likes the most about the idea is the non-invasive aspect of it.  

“For brainwaves, you need a brain implant,” he said. With Segal’s earbuds, the user can control things like a wheelchair, for instance, simply by doing something like flexing one’s jaw, kind of like getting Google to wake up by using the words, ‘Hey Google’.   

“We want commands to be silent and invisible; we call the jaw flexing a primer. The primer could be anything.”  

What excites Segal the most is how his earbuds will aid the disabled, like paraplegics who are paralyzed from the neck up.  

“We just brought on an advisor who is the Mayor of Vancouver, B.C. and uses a wheelchair. We are looking to partner with other individuals who are willing to give feedback and help us with connections in the assistive industry,” Segal said.  

Future plans for Segal include applying his tech to smart homes, gaming, the miliary, homeland security, and policing. 

Fedorko said that the goal of White Rose Ventures is to focus on York, Dauphin and Lancaster counties and then perhaps branch out into other areas.  

“We have a limited capacity to use a portion of our funds to invest across the state of Pennsylvania,” he said.  

“We want to use our resources and connections to support and advance businesses in the area and it’s important to us that our portfolio companies understand the value of community collaboration.” 

Fedorko said that interested parties are invited to pitch White Rose Ventures by visiting their website and filling out the form at https://whiteroseventures.com/. 

Stephanie Kalina-Metzger is a freelance writer